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There is a disturbing trend that I have noticed recently. I first became aware of the issue when I was hanging out with my girlfriend and a few of her other friends. In between pours of the communal sangria pitcher, I happened to see one of the other girls texting her boyfriend. Piquing my curiosity as to how he had excused his absence, I very stealthily snuck a side-eye at her phone. And what I saw cast a black pall across my soul.
It wasn’t the content of the text conversation; that was innocuous enough with him promising to get an Uber to meet these people he clearly wanted no part in associating with. No, my issue was with what I saw at the very top of her screen.
Next to this gentleman’s name (which I will keep anonymous to protect him from certain humiliation) were several emojis. Two “heart eye” emojis, one “kiss emoji” and three “heart” emojis, to be exact.
I tell you, nothing has caused me to become more irrationally angry than seeing emojis in a person’s contact list. You can’t just put your buddy’s name into your phone as “Jim,” it needs to be “Jim” plus the “monkey covering his eyes” emoji to communicate how crazy that dude is. Would you risk putting your new girlfriend’s name in as “Lizzie,” when she’s expecting to see her name come up with a “sunshine” emoji? It’s a goddamn travesty, cluttering your already deep pool of contacts with a bunch of dumb fucking symbols that serve no purpose.
You might say, “Well, it’s only in my contact list, where no one else will see it. What’s the harm?”
While you are correct that no one else is going to see the little cutesy emojis, that begs the question of why you have them in the first place. Normally, emojis are a way of communicating expressions and feelings that words cannot effectively convey. But here, you’re not using them to communicate anything. If it’s a barometer of your mood and affection for another person, why do you need that for yourself? Do you need to remind yourself how you feel about your possible new boyfriend?
No, because that’s not the reason that you have the emojis in your contact list. It’s to show off so that whenever someone random glances at your phone they don’t just see your girlfriend’s name, they see “Mary” with three “heart” emojis. So when you post a funny or cute text exchange between the two of you to the ‘Gram, people will know that Sean is the love of your last-few-months-until-you-find-out-he’s-still-on-Bumble. It’s for vanity. To slyly show off and convey to the world that someone out there finds you desirable.
“But Josh,” you might protest, “This is just a fun, cute way to show my affection.”
It’s not fun. It’s not cute. It’s annoying at best, disgusting at worst.
You know those teenagers who hang at the mall making out in front of everyone? No? Teenagers don’t hang out at malls anymore? Fuck I’m old. Okay, you know those couples who make out at parties in front of everyone? Not like a drunk makeout, but a “we’re so in love we need to show it off” make out? That’s you with these emojis in your contacts.
It’s the equivalent of using your pet name for each other in front of everyone. Not a typical one like “babe” or “sweetie” but an inside-joke, disgustingly sappy one like, oh I don’t know, “schmoopy.”
As this site’s spiritual descendant of George Costanza, I feel the need to impress this upon you: emojis in the contacts is the millennial equivalent of “schmoopy.” You think it’s cute, but we all hate it. It’s creepy, uncomfortable, and throws a bit more fuel into our fire of wishing you would break up. .